Tag Archives: Excel

Check the “Rule of 72” with a spreadsheet

One of the more amazing things I’ve encountered while studying finance is the Rule of 72. This rule effectively tells you how long it would take to double your money, depending on what interest rate you are earning on it. So if you were earning 4% a year, it would take roughly (72/4) = 18 years to turn $1,000 into $2,000.

But does it really work? Let’s verify with a spreadsheet! Continue reading

Build a Secret Santa Spreadsheet

Christmas is here again, and while we at SpreadsheetSolving appreciate the festive spirit, our practical side always wonders “does every single friend need a gift from each of their other friends?”. And… “why can’t we just give cash?”

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The game Secret Santa somewhat lessens this gift giving burden among a large group of people. In this game, each person is secretly assigned one other person in the group to give a gift to. Typically, when the person opens their gift, they try to guess who gave it to them. Great fun is had by all (in theory).

We can create a simple spreadsheet to set up the random assignment of people to others in a group. First we enter in a hypothetical list of names: Continue reading

Will you pay more or less under the Trump Tax Plan?

After nearly a year and a half after the candidates first declared their intention to run for the Presidency, we have now elected a new President. Trump’s Presidency was a surprise to many, and with Republicans in control of both the House and Senate along with the Presidency, major changes could be possible.

One of those changes could be taxes, where Trump has proposed a tax system with three tax brackets of 12%, 25% and 33% and an increase in the standard deduction to $30k for joint filers, while also eliminating exemptions for dependents. We wondered: roughly how would taxes change for any given level of income, filling status, and number of family members? This is a problem spreadsheets are well suited to solve! Continue reading

Monte Carlo Simulation – Fantasy Football playoff predictor

How likely will you make the fantasy football playoffs? It’s week 11 of the Fantasy Football season, which means there’s only three more weeks until the Fantasy Football playoffs. All your hard work up to this point – drafting your team, closely following daily fantasy football podcasts and injury reports, and agonizing over who to play in your Flex spot – rests upon what happens in these next few weeks. Continue reading

Build a sports league power ratings spreadsheet

Need a way to track results and calculate power ratings for your tennis, ping pong, chess, Magic: the Gathering, or video and board game leagues?

As you might guess from much of the content posted over the past couple years, we at Spreadsheetsolving are huge fans of sports and games. There’s something about competition that sharpens the senses and motivates you to do your best. There’s also something satisfying about there being a clear winner and a loser when the game is over.

So what can you do when you’ve organized a group to play tennis, ping pong, magic, etc. and you want a system to track results and assign people ratings based on their match histories?

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Is medical school “worth it”? An introduction to Internal Rate of Return (“IRR”)

Finance hiring is down, law school grads are having a tough time finding real law jobs, so what is an ambitious but risk averse college student to do with his or her life these days? Okay, right now the answer is computer science. Yes seriously, do computer science. But let’s pretend it is the year 2001 and the only other option respectable option is medical school. But doesn’t med school take a lot of time (4 years school plus 3-7 years residency/fellowship) and cost a lot of money? How can we figure out if going to med school and not earning doctor money until 7 years from now is worth it financially relative to just entering the workforce and working for those 7 years? Continue reading

How to analyze a nonprofit Form 990 with a spreadsheet

“The more you give, the more you get, that’s being alive” – The Money Song, Avenue Q

Charitable giving serves a valuable purpose  in  our society. It allows organizations in health, education, social services and others to provide benefits to people who otherwise couldn’t afford them. It allows people who have built up wealth to give back and make a difference. The federal government even subsidizes charitable giving by allowing donations to be deducted from income reported for taxes (effectively kicking in up to 39.6% of each donation). It’s a great system that is meant to fund those people and organizations in need. At least that is how it should be. Continue reading

Build a marriage tax penalty calculator spreadsheet

Summer and Fall are generally regarded as “Wedding season,” a time when love and celebration are in the air. December, on the other hand, could be regarded as “Should we get legally married for tax reasons before the end of the year” season, a slightly less romantic affair. Continue reading

Pick up basketball: Should you shoot more 2 pointers or 3 pointers when you play winners’ take?

The NBA basketball season just started last week, and the three point shot is having its moment. Despite some high profile doubters, the Warriors are the reigning NBA champions due to very impressive three point shooting. Also, the total number of three pointers taken in the NBA has steadily risen over the past 35 years.

Is it better to take a three pointer or a two pointer? The theory behind this is pretty simple, and can be done without a spreadsheet. Because a three pointer is worth 50% more than a two pointer, if a team can hit three pointers with at least 2/3 the percentage that they hit two pointers, then they would be better off taking more three pointers. Continue reading

A Simple Fantasy Football Auction Draft Spreadsheet

Last year, we demonstrated how someone can make a fantasy football draft spreadsheet to help make the best decision in each round of a traditional snake draft.  While most leagues use snake draft, eventually you might be faced with a league where someone suggests an auction draft.  They might cite something like this article to make their case.  At  first you might feel intimidated, but once you remember that every auction round is just a data driven decision, and that spreadsheets are great at solving data driven decisions, you can build something to give yourself the best chance to succeed! Continue reading

Do you want the stock market to go up or down?

At first glance, it sounds like an obvious question – surely it is better when stocks go up, right? From watching the ads on CNBC, it would seem that higher stock prices directly translate into more steak dinners and golf vacations while lower stock prices mean bringing your own peanut butter sandwiches to work (jelly is for bull markets). Continue reading